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Restaurant Reviews

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Earl’s Campus , 8629 112 St., 408-3914: An Edmonton institution with a broad middle-of-the-road menu usually fortified with a few elegant offerings. Busy place though: go early if you’re attending an event at the Jube. Overall rating: HHH

Four Rooms Edmonton Centre, 426-4767 — Hip yet comfortable dining room(s) serves a goodly selection of appetizers, specifically designed with the intention of allowing patrons to experiment/share in a controlled manner. Perfect before taking in a downtown art event with friends. Scooby picks include Potstickers, Satay Skewers and the Tibetan Stir-fry. Overall rating: HHH

Dadeo Restaurant 10548A-82 Ave., 433-0930— Okay, I realize that Dadeo serves mainly the one cuisine (Cajun/ Creole/ southern), but it’s under eclectic cause it’s so darn cool and one of the perpetual highlights of the Whyte scene. A visit to this 50s era railroad-style diner isn’t complete without a chicken Po’Boys or a hearty Combo Fabio (the St. Louis ribs/fried chicken combination plate). Overall rating: HHHH

Luna Loca across from University Hospital on 112 St. and 84 Ave.: An instant Scooby Review Gang favourite. Casual service, good selection of upscale soups, entrees and desserts and fair trade coffee in a funky minimalist setting. Overall rating: HHHH

Frank’s Place 10020-101A Ave., Edmonton, 422-0282: If “Cheers” were a restaurant, it would be Frank’s Place. Truly the dictionary definition of friendly, this joint is famous for its pasta steam table over which Frank himself reigns, offering truly monstrous portions. Overall Rating: HHHH

Two Rooms Café 10324-82 Ave., Edmonton, 439-8386: Don’t let the crowds on this Dominion Hotel eatery’s patio deter you. Even if you have to wait for a table, it’s worth it. If the food here was music it would be eclectic world beat and danceable. Overall Rating: HHH

Normand’s Jasper and 116 St., Edmonton, 482-2600: Restaurants rise and fall with regularity, but Normand’s endures – in part because they know how to ride fickle waves of fashion (cigar nights during the height of that craze) without losing sight of the basics of good cooking and a great night out. Overall Rating: HHHH

Upper Crust Restaurant 10909-86 Ave., Edmonton, 433-0810: Located in a fine mid-era modernist building, the Upper Crust is a huge favourite of many an area special event attender, but don’t forget its stand-alone charms. The desserts alone are worth a visit. Overall Rating: HHH

Zenari’s on First 10117-101 St., Edmonton: 425-6151: It’s no surprise why Zenari’s is such a hot downtown destination, given its funky jazz evenings and tempting take on Italian cuisine. Two personal faves are the Crostonis (sourdough bread crust pizza-like dish) and Risottos. Overall Rating: HHH

Urban Lounge and Whisky Grill 8111-105 St., Edmonton, 439-3388: A meat-lover’s dining room, this super-hot off-Whyte bar is famous for its whisky-sauce grilled dishes including steaks, baby back ribs and jumbo beef ribs. I personally like the platters where you can nosh the broadest. Overall Rating: HHH

Tasty Tom’s on Whyte 9965-82 Ave., Edmonton, 437-5761: Tasty Tom’s has got to be my favourite German restaurant. I love the funky, diner feel, and also I appreciate the deft (and contemporary) take on continental (the goulash soup and the schnitzel burger especially). Overall Rating: HHHH

Chianti Café and Restaurant 10501–82 Ave., Edmonton, 439-9829: Not Edmonton’s fanciest take on Italian cuisine, but one of everybody’s favourites for the obvious reasons: always affordable, always bustling, always spot-on consistent, always oh-so-friendly in one of the city’s most interesting historical buildings. Overall Rating: HHH

Paris Market 10363-104 St., Edmonton, 424-2511: Tucked away behind antiques and objects d’art, the Paris Market’s Café Les Muses delivers a civilized mix of classic French and regional Canuck cuisine in a casual, take-out-friendly atmosphere. The home-made New York Soda is a definite must-nosh. Overall Rating: HHHH

East Side Mario’s 2104-99 St., Edmonton: You shouldn’t let its grim South Edmonton Common surroundings and over-kitschy dining room blind you to the subtle-enough charms of this energetic franchise. Way adept take on Italian cuisine and way slick service. Overall Rating: HHHH

Il Forno Ristorante 14981 Stony Plain Rd., Edmonton, 455-0443: If you visit this ever-popular eatery – famous for its oven-baked pizzas in its newish west-end, street-front strip-mall location – go early. You may wait for a table, but a well-done meal here is worth the effort. Overall Rating: HHHH

Ritchie Mill 10171-Saskatchewan Dr., Edmonton, 431-1717: Housed in the warm stone lower storey of the historic 1892 Ritchie Mill, the same-name restaurant has an enviable vibe as a calm, mid-range restaurant. The iconic eatery boasts a tight menu laden with comfortable food items. Overall Rating: HHH

Café at Holt’s second floor of Holt Renfrew in Manulife Place, Edmonton: Shades of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s – an upscale, genteel dining room in an equally upscale department store. A quiet tea room perfect for a spot of lunch or a quiet tête-á-tête business coffee. Overall Rating: HHH

Allegro Italian Kitchen 10011-109 St., Edmonton, 424-6644: Housed as it is in a faceless modernist tower, Allegro is as endlessly comfortable and gracious as its home is monolithic. A deft take on an uptown Italian menu served in post-modern elegance and seamless charm.Overall Rating: HHHH

Gabbana Casual Dining 11223 Jasper Ave., Edmonton, 488-0955: Facing some pretty stiff competition in the rapidly revitalizing Oliver neighbourhood, Gabbana holds its own, thank you very much. Laid-back casual, this eatery offers a broad well-thought-through menu with obvious confidence. Don’t overlook this place. Overall Rating: HHH

Moxie’s Classic Grill 4790 Calgary Trail S., Edmonton, 430-4701: Every eatery needs to be measured up to its peers, and of Edmonton’s mainstream family outlets Moxie’s on Calgary Trail leads the pack. Yeah, it’s a franchise, but you can’t tell from its high-quality offerings. Overall Rating: HHH

Four Rooms Edmonton Centre, 426-4767 — Hip yet comfortable dining room(s) serves a goodly selection of appetizers, specifically designed with the intention of allowing patrons to experiment/share in a controlled manner. Perfect before taking in a downtown art event with friends. Scooby picks include Potstickers, Satay Skewers and the Tibetan Stir-fry. Overall rating: HHH.

Dadeo Restaurant 10548A-82 Ave., 433-0930— Okay, I realize that Dadeo serves mainly the one cuisine (Cajun/ Creole/ southern), but it’s under eclectic cause it’s so darn cool and one of the perpetual highlights of the Whyte scene. A visit to this 50s era railroad-style diner isn’t complete without a chicken Po’Boys or a hearty Combo Fabio (the St. Louis ribs/fried chicken combination plate). Overall rating: HHHH.

Luna Loca across from University Hospital on 112 St. and 84 Ave.: An instant Scooby Review Gang favourite. Casual service, good selection of upscale soups, entrees and desserts and fair trade coffee in a funky minimalist setting. Overall rating: HHHH

Earl’s Campus , 8629 112 St., 408-3914: An Edmonton institution with a broad middle-of-the-road menu usually fortified with a few elegant offerings. Busy place though: go early if you’re attending an event at the Jube. Overall rating: HHH.

Joey Tomato’s Mediterranean Grill, Jasper and 112 St., 420-1996 — Boasting a cool new post-modern look, this decidedly accessible eatery does the eclectic uptown dining scene with an enviable gusto. Whether you’re wanting to scarf and quick pizza or split an entree or settling down for a formal diner or high-tension business lunch Joey’s will accommodate. Overall rating: HHH.

Madison’s Grill Union Bank Inn, Jasper Ave between 100 and 101 St., 421-7171 — Looking for a sure-fire room to impress the boss or that special someone? Then Madison’s is the place for you: an endlessly charming, elegant hybrid room (half post-modern, half heritage Edwardian), gracious service and a flawless continental menu with a fusion mentality. Overall rating: HHHHH.

Il Portico 10012-107 St., 424-0707 — In some dining rooms you go to spot celebrities, at Il Portico you are the celebrity (at least given the way they treat you). Delightful Italian/ continental offerings, buoyant room, brilliant wine cellar and only some of the best service staff in Edmonton make for a memorable dining event every time out. Overall rating: HHHHH.

Hotel Macdonald Harvest Room, 10065, 100 St., 429-6424: This splendid Edwardian eatery is an River City staple for fine dining, especially high teas and brunches. Endless dedication to quality, a kitchen that can turn even the simplest dish into a culinary experience and one of the best views in town make a visit worth the pricey tab. Overall rating: HHHHH.

Donna at the Citadel, 10177-99 St., 429-3338 — Inspired by equally sophisticated dining rooms in New York, Donna’s manages to translate that big city ambiance into a completely Edmonton-friendly take on dramatic design and urbanity. Expect to share when you eat here and don’t be afraid order outside of your comfort zone — I’ve never had a bad dish. Overall rating: HHHHH.

Chance downtown in Commerce Place: A successful transplant of Chicago-style steakhouse in downtown Edmonton. Challenging urban chic menu deftly prepared, top-notch service and an elegant (if massive) dining room. Overall rating: HHHH.

Red Ox Inn, 9420-91 St., 465-5727 — Red Ox Inn is a tidy little annex to paradise. This perfect neighborhood restaurant offers an endlessly civilized eating-out option be it the Grilled Quail on Couscous or a to-die-for Pork Tenderloin, delicately stuffed with dried fruit mix and slathered with a Balsamic Fig Sauce that we enjoyed on our visit. Overall rating: HHHHH.

Dante’s Bistro 17328 Stony Plain Rd., Edmonton, 486-4448: Under the helm of chef Emmanuel David, this brand-new eatery is burning red-hot. Gourmet-level cuisine served in big, big portions with an easy-on-your-wallet pricing regime. Expect a wait if you go on weekends. Overall Rating: HHHH

Characters Restaurant 10257-105 St., Edmonton, 421-4100: Blending traditional tea room elegance with postmodern panache and an uptown menu, Characters is a brilliant addition to downtown’s culinary culture. Loads of fresh ingredients, a deft kitchen and sublime service make for a memorable meal. Overall Rating: HHHHH

Café Select 10018-106 St., Edmonton, 423-0419: Reviewing Café Select is like reviewing Shakespeare: what can you say about a classic? This cosy, homage-Renaissance room is all about balancing mood, service and deft cuisine to add up to a delightful evening out. Overall Rating: HHHH

Rigoletto’s Mayfair Hotel Building on 108 St., Edmonton: The Verdi opera it’s named after is kinda grim, but you’ll never use that adjective after a visit to the ever-popular Rigoletto’s. You gotta love their two-fisted take on pasta and their strong lunch menu: Overall Rating: HHH

Sorrentino’s in the Varscona Hotel, Edmonton, 434-7607: I don’t know if I go to the Varscona Sorrentino’s more for the brilliant food (a swell take on Continental/Italian offerings) or the decadently relaxing decor. All I can say for sure is that I keep going back. Overall Rating: HHHH

Polos Café 9405-112 St., Edmonton, 432-1371: One of Edmonton’s first and finest fusion restaurants, Polos easily earns a top berth on any sophisticated diner’s shortlist. Adept with each and every dish, the dining room nails down a cool, modern elegance. Overall Rating: HHHH

Bistro Praha 10168 – 100a St., Edmonton, 424-4218: Oh, the stories I could tell of my visits to this hyper-traditional European-style Bistro/café. A two-decades-old dining tradition, this eatery always amazes me with its freshness after all this time. Desserts, coffees and schnitzel are a must. Overall Rating: HHH

La Spiga Ristorante Italiano 10133-125 St., Edmonton: Tucked behind the High Street shopping complex in a charming historic house , La Spiga may not have a “look at me” presence, but it makes up for it with a stand-out Continental menu and sky-high service. Overall Rating: HHHH

Louisiana Purchase 10320-111 St., Edmonton, 420-6779: Way before Cajun cooking became mainstream, Louisiana Purchase was offering a clever take on Creole and blackened foods with a patented Crescent City elegance. Ohhh baby, just gotta have that Smoked Alligator and Pork Boudin. Overall Rating: HHHH

Madison’s Grill Union Bank Inn, Jasper Ave between 100 and 101 St., 421-7171 — Looking for a sure-fire room to impress the boss or that special someone? Then Madison’s is the place for you: an endlessly charming, elegant hybrid room (half post-modern, half heritage Edwardian), gracious service and a flawless continental menu with a fusion mentality. Overall rating: HHHHH

Badass Jack’s Subs and Wraps, 8621-109 St., 439-8091 — As far as I am concerned, Badass Jack’s is the first and last word in River City wraps. I’m getting hungry just writing their name. Overall rating: HHHH.

Pharos Pizza, Corner of 109 Street and 87 Ave., 433-5205 — I’m not going to commit the huge faux pas of saying that Pharos is the best pizza in town (my god, that’s like choosing a favourite among your children), but will state that it’s certainly in my personal top 10. The joint also has that retro-diner coolness and is perfectly situated beside the Garneau Theatre for pre- or post-show pigging out. Overall rating: HHHH.

Parkallen Pizza 8424–109 St., Edmonton, 430-4777: Sister outlet to the venerable Parkallen Restaurant, Parkallen Pizza lives up to an enviable family reputation. This, kids, is how pizza should always be offered up: golden perfect; thick and chewy, with really generous, fresh ingredients. Overall Rating: HHH

White Spot 3921 Calgary Trail South: A B.C. car-hopping tradition comes to Edmonton. Big juicy burgers and well-done fast food staples are specialty, served in a aesthetically-pleasing, family-friendly dining room. Overall rating: HHH.

Garage Bar & Grill 10242-106 St., 423-5014 — Named for the fact it’s housed in a renovated garage, the Garage is one of those lunch-time secrets for downtown fast-food junkies in the know. A wonderful selection of diner-style dishes, sandwiches and finger foods and big ol’ burgers that are as unpretentious as they are substantial and tasty. Overall rating: HHH.

The Funky Pickle 10441-82 Ave., 433-3865 — Okay, once again I exaggerate — The Funky Pickle is not so much “sit-down” as curb-side and/or take-out: so sue me. A Funky Pickle pizza means wholewheat dough, real cheese (including Asiago and Feta), fresh vegetables and ingredients and real attention to detail — no wonder it’s such on Old Strathcona institution. Overall rating: HHHH.

Max’s Light Cuisine, 7809-109 St., 432-6241 — This tiny little lunch-box is my vote for the best in Edmonton’s vegan cooking. Not the most elegant of rooms, but you’ll come back for the fresh, well-prepared healthy food. Overall rating: HHH.

Café Mosaics, 10844-82 Ave., 433-9702 — The closest thing the Scooby Review Gang has to a hang-out (Pop Tait, where are you). Bright menu with good veggie and vegan options with an accent of fresh ingredients and home-style cooking to compliment the up-to-date offerings. Cooler than cool. Overall rating: HHHH.

Savoy’s Health Café 11010 – 51 Ave., 437-7718 — Don’t let the

Anglophile name fool you, this Southgate-adjacent diner specializes in some totally decadent Indian food. A little out of the way, but worth the trip. Overall rating: HHHH.

Oriental Veggie House 10586-100 St.: Okay, the tofu beef kinda freaked me out, but aside from that a spendid dinning experience. Friendly staff, lovingly prepared dishes in a casual store-front setting. Overall rating: HHH.

Sidetrack Café, 10333-112 St., 421-1326 — What more can you say about Edmonton’s original road-house that hasn’t been said before. Edmonton’s best line-up of live talent in a warm, friendly atmosphere (and yes, there is a built-in railroad car). Not only is the ever-talent kitchen perfect for late-night nibbling, don’t overlook the Sidetrack as a lunchtime destination. Overall rating: HHH.

The Sugar Bowl, 10922-88 Ave., 433-8369 — A totally mellow experience. Hanging out on the stoop of this late-Edwardian era brick building come summertime is a long-standing southside tradition. Fresh snacks and always excellent coffees, teas and other drink complete the Platonic-ideal of coffeehouse je-ne-sais-quoi. Overall rating: HHHH.

Sherlock Holmes Pub downtown: A hopping joint and a long-time after work darling with the business set. Gracious patio, good beer selection and a menu that goes well beyond the expected pub fare. Overall rating: HHH.

Ceili’s Irish Pub and Restaurant just off 109 St. and 104 Ave., 426-5555 — A might fine Celtic eatery across the street from the downtown GMCC. Fave dishes include: The Five Counties Dip (home-made guacamole, salsa, black bean sauce, sour cream and aged cheddar) and the massive Corned Beef and Cabbage Boxty (golden potatoey and dripping with a rich creamy corned beef/cabbage goodness). Overall rating: HHHH.

Savoy 10401-82 Ave., Edmonton, 438-0373: Way to this reviewer’s heart: an eatery that looks good and has food that tastes better. Savoy gives you an ultra-hip ’60s-style decor and a handy cocktail list topped by an enticing menu. Delightful. Overall Rating: HHH

Metropolitan Billiard Café 10250-106 St., Edmonton, 990-0704: I’ve never been much of a pool player, but I do love going to the always lively Metropolitan Billiard Café, especially for lunch. Fave dishes include the Buffalo-meat burger, Chicken Ascona and Tandoori Chicken. Overall Rating: HHH

Stonehouse Pub on the corner of Jasper Ave. and 111 St., Edmonton, 420-0448: Every neighbourhood needs its very own watering hole and Oliver is lucky to have Stonehouse Pub. A tidy, friendly joint, this establishment is a no-surprises kinda place boasting a basic offerings menu with generous-enough portions. Overall Rating: HHH

The Overtime Broiler and Taproom Edmonton, 423-1643: While the popular Overtime (a clever hybrid contrasting exposed brick with overstuffed leather chairs) has made a name for itself as a classy drinking hole, don’t overlook its dining charms. I just love their brunch. Overall Rating: HHH

The Druid 11606-Jasper Ave., Edmonton, 454-9928: The Scooby Review Gang loves comfort food, especially Celtic pub offerings served with panache: hence our fondness for The Druid. Gotta love the dark wood panelling, the sedate decor and the kitchen’s endless consistency. Overall Rating: HHH

Fogg ’n Sudds 2100 Premier Way, Sherwood Park: Named after Phineas T. Fogg from Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, this joint promises to put you in orbit with its selection of 135 international bottled beers. Not the most adept kitchen, but good enough. Overall Rating: HHH

New York Bagel Café Edmonton: Okay, I wish it wasn’t so smoking-friendly but other than that, New York Bagel Café has topped my list of iconic favourites for two decades. Just gotta love the selection of cream cheese spreads. Overall Rating: HHH

Remedy 8631-109 St., 433-3096 — I really not a Starbucks kinda guy — for me it’s the independent coffeehouse with attitude, like Remedy (in the same building that houses See’s offices). Great coffee, cool accouterments and a tidy lunch, snack and dessert menu. Tres urban. Overall rating: HHHH.

Bagel Tree 10354-82 Ave.: One of the few establishments that is even more cool that Whyte’s white-hot buzz. An eatery that does the deli tradition right from its bohemian vibe to the hearty smoked meat sandwiches and homemade desserts and soups. You almost expect to see Leonard Cohen scribbling away in the corner. Overall rating: HHHH.

Kyoto Japanese Cuisine, Corner of Jasper Ave. and 109 St. — A Scooby Review gang favourite. Good Japanese offerings served in Asian decorum in a calm, tastefully pointed room. Easy enough on the pocketbook given the quality to boot. Overall rating: HHHH.

Koutouki Taverna 10704–124 St., Edmonton, 452-5383: I feel full just thinking about this fine Greek eatery. Talk about your adept take on home-style Mediterranean cooking (and loads of it) served with delightful panache in a tidy little 124th St. location just down from the Roxy.Overall rating: HHHH

Sushi Wasabi 5714-111 St., Edmonton You can taste the love at Sushi Wasabi. Laid-back urban classy without being fussy, comfortable without being overly familiar, while always focusing on a deft take on traditional melt-in-your mouth Japanese cuisine that screams fresh, fresh, fresh. Overall Rating: HHHHH

Khazana Restaurant 10177-107 St., Edmonton, 702-0330: My only advice when you visit this million-dollar dining room is to arrive hungry and graze broadly so as to do justice to the wild assortment of naan breads, appetizers, entrees and signature Tandoori offerings. Overall Rating: HHHH

Three Muskateers French Creperie 10416-82 Ave., Edmonton, 437-4239: The brainchild of former French firefighter/chef Christophe Mathew, this unique Whyte Avenue eatery is designed to give Edmontonians a taste of authentic French cuisine, especially the traditional galette (buckwheat crepe). Always fresh, always a treat. Overall Rating: HHHH

Sicilian Pasta Kitchen 11239 -Jasper Ave. Edmonton, 488-3838: The ownership may change, the neighbourhood can totally transform itself, but the Sicilian Pasta Kitchen remains a model of an authentic high-quality Italian restaurant. I especially love the intelligent menu and the from-scratch cooking practices. Overall Rating: HHHH

Tokyo Noodle Shop & Sushi Bar 10736-82 Ave. Edmonton, 430-0838:, modeled on Tokyo’s ubiquitous noodle shops (Japanese take on fast-food), this ultra-hip Garneau Lofts restaurant instantly became a Whyte Avenue institution. Super-affordable, I especially like the thick Udon noodles and lightly fried Salmon Karaage. Overall Rating: HHH

Grab A Bite 10351-82 Ave., Edmonton, 433-6336: Can’t decide what kind of Asian food you want? Whyte Avenue’s Grab a Bite’s for you then, serving up food from four of the big Asian cuisines. Love the Bento boxes and the laid-back atmosphere. Overall Rating: HHH

Yianni’s Taverna Restaurant 10444 82 Ave., Edmonton: A River City restaurant staple dating back to the Reagan era. Great Greek food in an elegant setting that’s conducive to a plate-breaking good time. You also can’t miss Yianni’s Las Vegas-sized signage. Overall Rating: HHHH

Sahara Sands 8120 – 101 St., Edmonton: Albeit a bit on the kitschy side, with service leaning toward spotty, Sahara Sands is still a pretty delightful take on Middle Eastern/North African cooking. If they’d just tone down the music a bit. Overall Rating: HHH

Julio’s Barrio Bourbon Street West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton: Carrying the torch of the Whyte Avenue icon in the mall that ate West Edmonton, the son of Julio’s offers the same accessible take on Red Ribbon-adept Mexican cooking in a legitimately funky dining room. Overall Rating: HHHH

Symposium Whyte Avenue 10439 – 82 Ave., Edmonton, 433-7912: You can never get enough Greek food, especially when it’s this good. Named after the Greek word for party, this restaurant lives up to its name with a cool postmodern-influenced open design and mucho sharing-friendly dishes. Overall Rating: HHH

Lemongrass Café, 10417-51 Ave., 413-0088 — A cozy modernist store-front eatery, The Lemongrass Café offers up a broad Vietnamese menu with a definite western sensibility in service and presentation. Case in point: the hybrid Wrap and Roll Combo Platter and Mango Mousse Cake we enjoyed when we last visited. Tasty and with a complimentary side-order of classy! Overall rating: HHH.

Bul-Go-Gi House 8813-92 Street: A sentimental favourite here for this reviewer: the first restaurant I ever ate at in Edmonton 20 years ago. Still here and still serving some of Edmonton’s best Korean food. Overall rating: HHHH.

Grub Med 119 Street and 37 Ave., 436-1988 — A bit of a drive and slightly hidden, but worth the effort. Funky room, REALLY great Greek friendly service to boot. Overall rating: HHHH.

New Asian Village 10143 Saskatchewan Dr., 433-3804 — The grand-daddy of Edmonton Indian food owned by the endlessly personable Harmeet Kapur, the New Asian Village is impossible to sum up in 50 words. From the 260 international and local beers to the a full menu page of different breads (Tandoori, fried and grilled Nan breads of all descriptions), this is a joint that’s always gonna do you right. Overall rating: HHH..

La Tapa 10523-99 Ave.: You gotta go if only once for the paella ( rice-based stew of sorts, flavored with saffron, chicken, shrimp, vegetables and a precursor to such dishes as the Cajun jambalaya). Be warned the dish takes 45 minutes to prepare and MUST be shared. Overall rating: HHH.

Twig ’n’ Berries, 8430-103 St., 413-6282 — It’s tiny, it keeps strange hours, but it’s a hidden gem. Everything’s comfortably home-style, made from scratch and you’ll be hard pressed to get friendlier service. A great place to unwind after a Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market. Overall rating: HHH.

High Level Diner, 10912-88 Ave., 433-0993 — An excellent overall restaurant, I just love the High Level’s brunch and breakfasts. From super-decadent to totally healthy the offerings at this Edmonton eating-out-institution are always top-notch and served with an enviable panache. Go early on weekends though. Overall rating: HHHH.

Sweetwater Café 12427-102 Ave.: Still haven’t forgiven this restaurant’s move from Whyte Avenue. Love the weekend brunch: huge portions and the whole wheat pancakes are to die for. Overall rating: HHH.

Café de Ville 124 Street just off Jasper, 488-9188 — Despite the fact that I’ve had some way-above-average dinners in this super-classy Edwardian-era dining room, the brunch is to totally die for. From the piping-hot selection of just baked buns and muffins to hefty entrees that should have the decadence cops smashing down the door. You’ll never leave de Ville anything short of satiated. Overall rating: HHHHH.

Albert’s Family Restaurant 10370-82 Ave., 439-6609 — It’s been here for more that 30 years and spawned a chain, not to mention nursed many a Whyte avenue hang-over. Hearty basic breakfasts that won’t break your budget and a people-watcher’s paradise given the room’s wildly eclectic clientele. Overall rating: HHH.